This is Part I in a series on profiling victims of prostitution and human/sex trafficking. These blogs are intended for educational purposes so as to increase awareness on human and sex trafficking within the United States. Additionally, my goal is to break down the idea that victims who are being abused within the U.S. are not shipped in from around the world, or are victims of indiscriminate kidnappings. Rather, the vast majority of victims are domestic runaways. American children tend to be easy targets for this particular industry as they carry less risk for the traffickers, pimps and buyers than do adults and foreign nationals. Approximately 200,000 and 293,000 American youth are at risk each year of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation (CSE). 60% of these children are runaways, thrownaways or homeless children.
Note: there is not a consistent type of profile for a trafficked or prostituted victim. However, this profile is intended as a generalized overview of what an American trafficked or prostituted individual looks like.
60% of prostitutes and sexually exploited individuals are females: A 2008 study identified approximately 41% of women and girls are escorts, of which 28% started upon initial recruitment into commercial sex. Of the 41% who were escorts, 59% stated they had been coerced. Girls are involved largely in pimp-controlled prostitution, including street prostitution and prostitution organized through escort and massage services. 55% of street girls are engaged in formal prostitution in which roughly 75% are controlled by a pimp.
40% of prostitutes and sexually exploited individuals are males. Male juvenile prostitution is not as visible as that of female prostitution due to being held in tightly organized rings. Approximately 40-50% of sexually exploited boys have been thrown out of their homes due to sexual identity issues. Approximately 25-35% of male youth prostitutes self-identify as gay, bisexual or transgender/transsexual (Estes & Weiner, 2001). Regardless of the boy’s self-identification, a minimum of 95% of all prostitution engaged in by boys is provided to adult men. Males also participate in entrepreneurial pornography. Boys, often times, will eventually become pimps or hustlers if not helped in existing prostitution. Male sex trafficking victims are highly stigmatized and most are overlooked and ignored as a result of a lack of information or resources due to strict pimp control.
Next – Taking a look at the ages and ethnicity of human trafficking victims.